Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that as part of government’s initiative...
to modernize BSNL so as to make it relevant in the competitive environment which telecom sector is facing today, a government press release said.
The minister said the public sector has plans to invest Rs 2000 crore for the upgradation of its network which includes adding another 21000 BTS. He said the addition would include 13000 BTS which BSNL would use for its 3G services. As part of its drive to tap new sources of revenue while meeting aspirations of the government, it has introduced a plan to deploy public Wi-Fi hotspots across the country covering all religious, tourist and important locations in the country. In first phase of the plan it proposes to set up 2500 WIFI hotspots across the country.
In a bid to regain financial health and popularity, BSNL has taken several initiatives recently including introduction of free night calling from BSNL fixed line to any other service provider between 9PM to 7AM. BSNL has also introduced free incoming calls while roaming for BSNL mobile customers which is perhaps a first step taken by any telecom operator. BSNL has upgraded minimum speed of broadband from 512 kbps to 2mbps so that broadband customers of BSNL should have better surfing experience.
BSNL is in the process of upgrading and expanding both mobile as well as fixed telephone network. As part of this initiative BSNL is converting the existing PSTN telephone exchanges with NGN (Next Generation Network). Approximately 660 telephone exchanges have already been upgraded to NGN.
Ravi Shankar Prasad also gave go green signal to the NGN technology designed and manufactured locally by CDOT (Centre for Development of Telematics). The initiative part of Make in India programme will facilitate BSNL in accelerating deployment of NGN technology in urban and rural part of the country.
The minister also inaugurated several Value Added Services (VAS) on NGN, namely all India IP Centrex, multimedia voice conferencing, fixed mobile convergence and prepaid version of fixed telephone. He also started a new innovative services called Fixed Mobile Telephony(FMT) which helps customers to carry his/her fixed telephone in his/her pocket while moving around the world and able to receive and initiate outgoing calls from mobile telephone instrument.
BSNL had planned to set up 2,500 Wi-Fi hotspots in 250 locations at a cost of Rs 500 crore in the current fiscal. A couple of days back, the customs department had cleared another 750 hotspots which will be set up in the next few days, according to a BSNL official.
BSNL will set up as many hotspots as possible in the next 15 days to meet the target.
As part of the Digital India programme, the government is working towards enabling all cities, with a population of over one million, tourist centres and religious places with wi-fi hotspots.
BSNL usually provides free wi-fi services for 30 minutes and after the free usage limit is exhausted, the user has to buy subscription plans which are available in various denomination.